Search Engine Optimisation is at the forefront of many businesses minds when they are aiming to promote and generate sales and conversions for their business and inevitably they approach search engine companies to instigate a plan for maximising or optimising their site and products to reach their desired market.
While companies that perform search engine optimisation would know the rules and guidelines for SEO by simply reading and following the official google SEO handbook, this simply covers the technical aspects of approaching website optimisation according to Googles (and most other Search Engines) requirements.
Adopting the correct mentality
Most people I speak to are under the impression that with search engine optimisation there is some secret technique or method by which you can guarantee reaching that number 1 position on the search results and the benefits of traffic associated with it and they view this aim with a very selfish attitude, an attitude of “I deserve to be there because I have a great product/service/idea so I should have no problems making it work for me”. This is absolutely and completely the wrong mentality to adopt.
Google’s perspective – its a business
Here are the facts.
Yes its true, Google is a business and a damn successful one. The majority of us however forget this and see it as something that’s free, and here to cater to our needs (search), and herein lies my point. Googles business is essentially as a service provider and its main focus is to provide results to searches, but not just any old result plucked out of thin air. Imagine you performed a search and the results did not satisfy. Would you stick around and continue to use that service?
No, you wouldn’t, you would change and use a service that provides RESULTS that are relevant to you and the search you are performing. Google realise this, but businesses tend to forget this when they approach the market via search engine optimisation. Remember Google owes you nothing. It owes its users something very specific however and that is quality results.
Mental Shift towards Quality Content
Its time for businesses to make a mental shift when its comes to SEO. Google will list you, and rank you for any given keyword or phrase at different levels but its all based around one thing. Quality. There is absolutely no point in a business (or individual) posting content and trying desperately to rank it when it simply cannot compete with other content of a higher quality.
What is quality content then?
This is the ultimate question. Who or how is it decided what is quality content and what makes information more valuable or of a higher quality than another? For me it is dictated by a specific set of factors but in reality it could be range of different aspects that are decided by YOU not by Google. Quality content cannot really be defined unless you are aware of who you are and what people want and the relationship between these two variables. I believe that Google are continually adapting to meet this need. The algorithm created by Google, at this time, relies heavily on backlinks to decide where and what quality content is.
Google looks at the amount of backlinks that a set of information has as a vote of confidence, a thumbs up or a recommendation from readers and visitors and ranks that information accordingly. They hate it when people pay for these recommendations and that means allowing money to influence decision makers and provide backlinks for financial gain as their point of view is that the backlink should be freely given due to the quality of the content or the level of satisfaction the viewer has gained from reading or watching the information provided.
Of course, people do pay for links and sites charge for giving them. My advice? Dont, its simply not worth getting penalised or removed completely from the rankings for the “quick” method of generating backlinks with money. You and your visitors are much better served by spending that same money, time, effort or expertise by creating strong content people will enjoy.
So what is the point of Search Engine optimisation then?
This doesn’t mean that search engine optimisation (SEO) is not without merit, its a matter of deciding the context and merit of focusing your efforts and achieving goals. SEO is continually taken out of context, at least in my experience, and people are continually under the expectation that by performing it then they are guaranteeing results. Any SEO preformed is only as good as the website it is performed upon so what makes people think that slapping together a basic site with little valuable assets and then performing SEO will get them anywhere. I’m afraid it simply doesn’t work like this.
Dont try and outsmart Google, work with it.
The whole point of SEO is to make your website match the criteria set out by Google and ensure your site is meeting these requirements to the maximum effect, that’s what optimisation means. Basically you want to follow the rules as closely as possible so when you publish information Google is happy to list and rank it. But that’s the first step in getting rankings, it wont necessarily produce these backlinks you need to help increase the importance of the information itself. That can only be given by the people who want to read it and give value to it freely, and you cannot always influence that decision, unless your content is top quality. (Again that word quality).
The point is, don’t try and make Google make you number 1, make Google want you to be number 1.
The more useful, helpful or quality your content is to your target audience the more it will rank, its really that simple and churning out repetative, meaningless information will not endear you to search egnines or users alike. It is pretty obvious you cant beat it with under hand tricks or ways and means of rewriting the same old stuff again and again. No one will want to read it, and why would they. Get creative, get relevent, get real.